The Austin Chronicle

Lunar New Year Parties, OUTsider Fest, and More Recommended Community Events

Get out the vote and more this week

By James Scott, Katherine McNevins, Richard Whittaker, Brant Bingamon, Wayne Alan Brenner, Lina Fisher, James Renovitch, and Kimberley Jones, February 16, 2024, Arts

OUTsider Fest

Thursday 15 - Sunday 18, the Vortex

C’mon y’all freaks and geeks: Austin’s premier transmedia festival dedicated to bold creativity within the LGBTQ community is back again. Over four days, creators like Good Pollution, Fargo Nissim Tbakhi, Ajani Brannum, Xandra Ibarra, and many more will bake your noodle with performances pacing past all known artistic outposts. Special presentations pop up throughout the fest run, but ongoing all four days will be DARKROOM, a blindfold-required sonic experience, and Lezbian Popcorn Cart, a celebration of savory sapphic her/hirstory. Highly recommended: the Legacy Awards boosting Austin spacemakers Priscilla Hale, Chale Nafus, Sandra Martinez, and Susan Post at Cheer Up Charlies on Friday, Feb. 16.   – James Scott

Big Bad Karaoke at the Love Lagoon

Thursday 15, the Contemporary Austin - Laguna Gloria

Lyrical love springs eternal over at this sculptural outpost of one of Austin’s artistic institutions, with multidisciplinary artist Alexis Hunter and musician Jane Claire hosting lovey-dovey karaoke. Aira Juliet and Liz Dexia perform as well, but the real headliners are the couples getting hitched. Yeah, that’s right: Whether they’re playing pretend or really tying the knot, several lovebirds will be able to secure a wedding slot with the night’s officiant, Jane Claire. Commitmentphobes can take a baby step whenever by texting or calling the Love Lagoon hotline (512/666-0364) with a dedication for a sweetie that’ll be read or played radio-style during the night’s events.   – James Scott

Boyz of Austin: Valentine Hangover

Thursday 15, Elysium

Austin’s very own gender expansive drag king troupe gives all the heartsickos drained by Wednesday’s romantic chaos a chance to refuel via “boylesque” – you know, burlesque with da boys! Alongside the usual crew will be special guests Sinister Cabaret host Miss Good and burly-q meet-cutes Jess Velour and Nico de Gallo. Keep cash in pocket for the nine-buck cover charge, and remember the Boyz Insta post promise: “Whether you have a boo or are riding solo, the Boyz are here to cure that Valentine hangover.”   – James Scott

Cash Bash

Friday 16, Mean Eyed Cat

Do you hear that lonesome whistle blowin’? Mayhaps it’s the spirit of Johnny Cash calling you to celebrate what woulda been the iconic musician’s 92nd birthday, just a smidge early. Walk the line over to the city’s No. 1 Cash bar for free live music from Deep Eddies and Truck Stop Jukebox starting at 7pm, and set aside some funds for a limited-edition T-shirt to proudly proclaim your allegiance to the Man in Black.   – Kat McNevins

Accessible Parking Enforcement Training

Friday 16 - Saturday 17, Online

If you’ve ever seen one of those a-holes parked in a clearly marked accessible-parking space that’s not for them and thought, “I wish I could do something about this,” here’s your chance. This program from the city’s Transportation and Public Works Department, in partnership with APD, deputizes volunteers to issue citations and warnings to illegally parked vehicles and educate the community to help ensure accessible parking is available for those who need it. Attend a couple of hours of training over two days (one online, one in the field), and you’re all set! Just don’t let the power go to your head.   – Kat McNevins

Love Bites

Friday 16 - Sunday 18, House of Torment

Valentine’s Day may be past, but love is still in the air – as is the sound of bat wings. Austin’s most ghoulish and nationally acclaimed Halloween attraction, the House of Torment, cracks open the crypt for three nights of vampiric terror in this specially themed event designed to chill the blood and get your heart pumping. Feel like impressing that special someone? The date night package comes with photos, two drinks at the secret Neon Coffin bar, and an eyeball rose bouquet.   – Richard Whittaker

“Iconic Objects From American’s Music History”

Saturday 17, LBJ Library

Oh good – stuff! Music stuff! The LBJ Library is bringing a new traveling exhibition – “Music America: Iconic Objects From America’s Music History” – to town for the next six months. Curated by the Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music, the exhibit examines American music through instruments, handwritten lyrics, costumes, and other objects from Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Guthrie, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Taylor Swift, and others. There’s a letter from Buddy Holly to his mother sent shortly before he died, Chuck D’s handwritten lyrics to “Fight the Power,” a fox fur stole from Billie Holiday’s closet, plus a hundred other precious, totemic items.   – Brant Bingamon

Wine & Rebel Cheese Night

Saturday 17, Austin Farm Sanctuary

Of course you want to tour Animal Farm Sanctuary and meet all the wonderful animals that Chris and Angela Fuller-Wigg have rescued and care for on their 40 beautiful acres in Bastrop County. But – is there a better time to do it than when they’re hosting a vegan cheese and wine tasting presented by Rebel Cheese’s Kirsten Maitland and Fred Zwar? The answer, if you like good food, is: No, there’s no better time than today’s event that starts with much learning and delicious, plant-based feasting – and ends with s’mores by the fireside.   – Wayne Alan Brenner

Undeadfully Yours

Saturday 17, the Glass Coffin

You know you’re in for a particular, um, vein of Valentine’s market when the event poster features a Cupid that looks drawn by Tom of Finland. And, mmhmm, the Glass Coffin, Austin’s preeminent emporium of all things macabre, joins with the Velvet Casket for a night of goth speed dating, light kink play, and photos with a Cupid who might just be that ripped. More than 20 vendors will be flaunting their eldritch wares, sonically abetted by DJ Detra, welcoming all fashionable creatures of the night, but: ages 18 and older only, tyvm.   – Wayne Alan Brenner

Get Out the Vote With TCDP

Saturday 17, Wheatsville Co-op

You really can’t underestimate the power of personal connection when it comes to voting, and the more people who participate, the more representative our democracy really is. That’s why the Travis County Democratic Party wants you to come help knock on doors to drum up participation in the March primary election. Put on your walking shoes, meet up at Wheatsville on Guadalupe at 10, and hit the streets to get people fired up to go vote.   – Kat McNevins

Red Party

Saturday 17, Inn Cahoots

The first known red was red ochre, found in cave paintings a million zillion years ago – give or take. From the beginning, this color’s symbolized life, fire, and love. Local LGBTQ stagecrafters Austin Rainbow Theatre utilize that lineage in their Red Campaign, which raises funds to continue their commitment to “amplifying LGBTQ+ voices in Austin and Central Texas” via ART’s theatrical programming. The campaign wraps this week with a massive finale featuring performances, testimonials, a silent auction featuring exclusive experiences and items, and special VIP tickets to a rooftop regalia that goes after hours.   – James Scott

Papi Siii

Saturday 17, Cheer Up Charlies

Venue Mala Vida’s gay Latin night staple takes a trek down Red River to post up at ye’ olde Chups, where this Saturday they’ll be raising the roof as well as funds. Enjoy perreo and reggaeton spun by DJs Gabby Got It (aka event co-founder Gabriela Bucio) and Dragonn Queen, drink specials, and giveaways from VCR-cleaner-mongers Double Scorpio. All this, and you’ll be supporting two women-and-POC owned businesses: Who could ask for more?   – James Scott

OMG Squee’s Lunar New Year and Fourth Birthday Party

Saturday 17, OMG Squee

When the Eastside’s beloved Asian dessert shop throws a combo Lunar New Year and b-day celebration, and it’s backed by the whiskeymongers of Fierce Whiskers Distillery, you know there’s gonna be all sorts of pastry-forward, creamy, and boozy fun. Vendors aplenty – featuring Kaiju Cut and Sew, Solid Soaps, and a dozen more! Music by DJ @mikeswing! A K-pop dance performance by local troupe AuroraZ! And a happy Year of the Dragon to us all!   – Wayne Alan Brenner

Lunar New Year Celebration

Sunday 18, Chinatown Center

The lunar new year kicked off Saturday, and in the Chinese zodiac, it is the Year of the Dragon, symbolizing power, strength, and wisdom. Celebrate new beginnings and opportunities at a celebration that last year brought together 6,000 revelers to Chinatown Center’s dozens of Asian shops and restaurants. The free, family-friendly fest goes from 11:30am to 5pm and features firecrackers, cultural dance teams, and a stunning lion dance performance to start the new year off right.   – Kat McNevins

Texas Roller Derby

Sunday 18, Palmer Events Center

Last time we wanted to crow about Roller Derby, tickets sold out before we had the chance. But that was for the season opener at Thunderdome earlier this month, and this one is at the much larger Palmer Events Center, so you’re much more likely to get a seat! For the second round of the season, the Holy Rollers and Cherry Bombs face off in what’s sure to be an explosive matchup of banked-track badassery. Go ahead and snag tickets for the March 9 bout at Thunderdome, too, as it’s bound to sell out.   – Kat McNevins

Lunar New Year Festival 2024

Sunday 18, Paper Craft + Pantry

The third annual Lunar New Year Festival Market at Springdale General’s Paper + Craft Pantry is co-hosted by paper shop honcho Pei Sim and watercolor postcard, sticker, and magnet-maker extraordinaire Kathy Phan of kathyphantastic. Ring in the Year of the Dragon with lion and dragon dance performances, kid storytime, face-painting, and more than 30 vendors from Asian-owned businesses across Texas. The event runs all day, 11am to 5pm, but you can get VIP access for early entry and a new year goodie bag valued at $50-plus. Suggested donation is $10-25 per person.   – Lina Fisher

Ascension Seton Austin Marathon

Sunday 18, Downtown

As they say, if you’re going to run, run Austin! Our happenin’ city is always a popular travel destination, but this running social event going since 1992 brings in thousands of runners, spectators, and volunteers from all over the U.S. and dozens of countries around the world for a Sunday morning flurry of athletic activity. The 26.2-mile course route touches all corners of the city, meaning no matter where you are, you can find a nearby spot from which to spectate and cheer on the runners, maybe even with a Bloody Mary in hand, as is the Austin Sunday morning way.   – Kat McNevins

School Holiday Craft-Along

Monday 19, Make at Rosie

Friendly reminder: Monday is Presidents Day! Famous Pisces George Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732, and we use his birthday as an excuse to honor all presidents on the third Monday in February. Lots of places take the opportunity to close for the day, including schools, city parks & rec facilities, and libraries, but those looking for something to do can stop by Make at Rosie for an afternoon of springtime creativity geared toward kids ages 5 and up, with craft supplies out the wazoo at the ready.   – Kat McNevins

UT Basketball vs. Kansas State

Monday 19, Moody Center

For what has been an otherwise middling season, the men’s squad is coming off a decisive – perhaps revenge-driven? – win over West Virginia. That’s good, because they need those victories as the regular season nears its end with a bruising schedule between now and the month of madness that follows. Regardless of the quality of play, home games at the Moody – and make sure you go to the right Moody – are always entertaining with music, performance, and, if you’re lucky, baby races.   – James Renovitch

Elizabeth Kahura

Tuesday 20, Windsor Park Library

A native of Kenya who has lived in the U.S. since the 1990s, Elizabeth Kahura has educated audiences of all ages through puppetry, music, and more through her African Safari program. For over two decades she has presented storytelling and art projects demonstrating the similarities between the cultures and traditions of the mother continent and the United States. During Black History Month, she’s bringing her talents to the Austin Public Library as part of their celebration of Black art.   – Brant Bingamon

Sims Elementary Repurposing Update

Tuesday 20, Zoom

For generations of East Austinites, Sims Elementary provided a hub for the community until its emotional closure in 2021. Neighbors of the nearly eight-acre property would like to see it restored as some kind of a community space. While public input has tossed a lot of ideas into the ring, including a playground, affordable housing for teachers and their families, communal gardens, and a grocery store, there’s still a big question mark over the future of the Sims campus. Austin ISD will provide an update in a 6pm virtual meeting.   – Kimberley Jones

Zine Night

Wednesday 21, Austin Central Library

Wanna express yourself with a DIY publication that you can share with friends and family and maybe that receptive stranger at the bus stop? Gather with fellow creators and learn how to make and craft a zine with the Austin Public Library’s team of design-wrangling, text-trafficking, paper-folding pros. This month’s theme is “Leaping for Smarch 33rd,” where you conjure your own calendar or zine with a personalized day, month, or year – inspired by Leap Day. They’ll even add it to the APL Zine Collection.   – Wayne Alan Brenner

An Evening With Bill Nye

Wednesday 21, Long Center

Gen Xers and millennials have a soft spot for the brilliant engineer-turned-entertainer thanks to his groundbreaking and Emmy-winning Nineties TV program Bill Nye the Science Guy, but he’s still at it today, making science education fun for all ages. The 68-year-old science advocate is also a bestselling author and documentary subject, and his latest series, The End Is Nye, explores global threats from viruses to volcanoes in his trademark no-nonsense but still fun way. Join in to laugh, learn something, and see what bowtie he’s sporting.   – Kat McNevins

Drag Queen Loteria

Thursday 22, Pelon’s Tex-Mex

The Red River Tex-Mex mecca – complete with full tequila bar – fuels up nine local HIV/AIDS orgs for their upcoming Hill Country Ride for AIDS ventures via donation-based loteria. Drop a suggested $5 or more on a card and play to win prizes from Austin-area vendors. Host Nadine Hughes dishes up drag, but if you’re still hungry, grab a taco and tipple from Pelon’s menu. Just shoot for the tipsy twinkle of la estrella over getting sloshed à la el borracho.   – James Scott

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